This year marks the 50th anniversary of breast implants and we have certainly come a long way in terms of safety and reliability. Currently, both silicone and saline implants are FDA-approved by three makers: Allergan, Inc, Mentor Worldwide, LLC and Sientra, Inc. The latter being the latest one approved to offer silicone-gel implants of various shapes, textures and sizes. Having more options helps plastic surgeons and their patients make the best decisions for their particular body types and needs.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by realself.com reports that breast implants can improve a woman’s sex life. 61% reported an increase in frequency and 70% stated that they had an overall increase in satisfaction. The Huffington Post speculated that an increase in self-confidence following breast implant surgery most likely is the cause of the jump. Many studies have connected a rise in self-esteem post-plastic surgery, so their theory certainly has merit. Especially since almost 85% of women who have had breast augmentation has said it was “worth it” and they would do it again.
This cultural fascination with breasts led author Florence Williams to write “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” which reported the average cup size in the US to be a C and that lingerie stores are now carrying larger sizes, some up to a size KK. The author was inspired to write this book due to her research in breastfeeding and discovering contaminants in her own breast milk. It is a common misconception that women who have had breast augmentation cannot breastfeed, or that breastfeeding causes sagging. Both are luckily untrue.
Breast surgery also isn’t only relegated to increasing the bust size. Many women who have gained and lost weight, have large breasts genetically or have just succumbed to age and gravity might turn to a breast lift or breast reduction surgery. Common complaints of chafing, back, shoulder or neck pain and the inability to find the right bra, clothing or swimwear might lead some to seek out surgery. Breast reduction has one of the highest satisfaction ratings, with 95% of women saying it’s “worth it.”
No matter what kind women choose, there is no denying the upswing in breast surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were 316,848 breast augmentation performed in the United States in 2011 compared with 101,176 such procedures in 1997. Breast reduction has had a 136% increase and breast lift has increased over 539% over the same time period.